Culture Report: The San Diego Opera Is Saved!


Culture Report: The San Diego Opera Is Saved!

Take a seat, fat lady. Plus, bad news for Art Pulse, TJ artists aplenty, the San Diego Jewish Arts Festival kicks off and more in our weekly culture roundup.

The fat lady better pick up a leather recliner at Jerome’s, pour herself a drink and have a seat – she’s not going to be singing anytime soon. The San Diego Opera has officially been saved.

After two months of drama that included board members severing ties in a huff, the ouster of longtime leader Ian Campbell, mega fundraising efforts to keep it alive, the induction of new leadership and more, the 49-year-old institution announced it’s decided to rescind the vote to shut down operations. The opera’s funded to stay open for another season and possibly longer. The U-T reported much of those funds were raised by first-time donors.

This is great news for the longstanding institution, San Diego’s cultural landscape and for those who love the art form. And with all the coverage in the last couple of months, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a resurgence in interest and a wider range of attendees in the audience. They might even get a few people under 60.

The 2015 season has already been announced with classics like “Don Giovanni” and “La Boheme,” along with the more daring “Nixon in China.” Let’s hope the newly revived San Diego Opera takes more risks from now on.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Visual Art

• Another local arts organization is feeling the sting of losing a large part of its funding. This time it’s Art Pulse, an organization that has been delivering arts news and criticism, television programming and events information since 2007. CityBeat reported the organization’s cuts and what it means for operations.

• CityBeat featured Tijuana artist Pablo Llana on its cover this past week and wrote up a profile. His pop-art pieces tackle the theme of obesity and consumers’ obsession with what I call “garbage food.” Hate to admit it, but I love me some McDonald’s.

• USA Today named La Jolla one of the 10 best city art districts around the U.S., name-checking Thumbprint Gallery, Scott White Contemporary Art Gallery and Murals of La Jolla. They failed to mention the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, Joseph Bellows Gallery, Quint Contemporary and other rad art goodies in the area, but I guess we can let it slide.

• World-renowned Encinitas-based photographer Jeff Mitchum got the shot of a lifetime, capturing Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome as homage to his hero Ansel Adams. Copies of the photograph are going for $10,000 a pop. How much can I get for the Instagram I took of last night’s spaghetti? (U-T)

In last week’s Culture Report, I mentioned The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time project awarding grants to UC San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art. I failed to mention the Museum of Photographic Arts got $100,000 from the Getty as well. My bad! And congrats, MoPA.

• Artist Louiegee “Strider” Faustino gets a kick out of hiding art around the city for people to find. (Reader)

• The San Diego Art Institute’s new executive director is shaking things up. (CityBeat)

• Slate profiled the Tijuana artist who lives in the infamous mona, or doll, statue.

Shakespearean Music and More Performance News

• Starting next month, the La Jolla Playhouse will stage “El Henry,” a Chicano version of the Bard’s “Henry IV” set in a 2045 run-down barrio metropolis as part of the WoW (Without Walls) Festival.

• A fundraising effort is under way to help local jazz legend Daniel Jackson pay his medical bills. Jackson is currently battling lung cancer. (CityBeat)

The weirdness rolls through Space 4 Art once again this Saturday with the return of experimental music showcase “Stay Strange.” This time around they present New Vocables, an evening of solo vocal improve with Aedwyrrde Lancsaubre Al-Hazred and Karl Blau.

The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival kicks off Tuesday. Among the works playing during the fest is a world-premiere piece on American composer Irving Berlin. (U-T)

• The Reader gives the La Jolla Community Center’s weekly Opera Wednesdays concerts a big thumbs-up.

Internet Cats, Barrio Logan Radio and More Cultural Crumbles

• My pal Ryan Bradford made a video that explores a world in which cats direct tuna commercials and it is unbelievably weird and awesome. Get ready to (fancy) feast on your worst feline nightmare. (CityBeat)

• A new Barrio Logan radio station is set to hit the airwaves. It aims to serve the neighborhood by discussing art and cultural events, news and more in a bilingual format. (KPBS)

• The Reader paid tribute to my hometown of Tijuana with a special South of the Border issue, covering Parque Teniente Guerrero, TJ microbreweries, Pasaje Rodrigues and more.

• San Diegan Mimi Hughes is swimming the 1,777-mile Danube River. I’m getting a stitch in my side just typing that. (KPBS)

• A group called RACIST (Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams) is pushing to have the San Diego Padres change its name to the San Diego Wildfires.  (Reader)

• The Balboa Park Centennial Committee still can’t get it together. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole thing just ends up being a sad cake fail with a sign that reads, “It is your birthday.” (San Diego Free Press)

• A timelapse video of our beautiful city has been making the rounds on the Internet. It’s a good reminder of just how hard San Diego rules. (Movoto)

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